Together with Melinda Stengel, a licensed social worker, Goldhamer wrote This is for Everyone: Universal Principles of Healing Prayer and the Jewish Mystics, published by Larson Publications in 1999. His second book, written with Peggy Bagley, Healing with God’s Love: Kabbalah’s Hidden Secrets, has met with great success, and inspired classes based on their book.

Frequently writing for the Chicago Jewish News, he has articles appearing monthly. Rabbi Goldhamer received his Bachelor of Hebrew Law, Master of Hebrew Letters, and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Sir George Williams University, Montreal. His Ph.D. is in Medieval Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He was born in Montreal, Canada in 1945, and became a citizen of the United States in 2003. The rabbi began painting about 15 years ago. He focuses on Jewish mystical and Biblical themes. His works have been exhibited at Judy Saslow Gallery and Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago; Joy Moos Gallery, Florida; the National Jewish Museum, Washington, D.C.; Creighton University Art Gallery, Omaha; Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN; Blackwater Creek Gallery, Lynchburg, VA; Gallery E, Winnetka, IL; and Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago. During 1972-1976 Rabbi Goldhamer served as NBC newscaster for the deaf on Chicago’s local Channel 5. He has twice been named one of the “Ten Outstanding Jewish Leaders in Chicago” by the Chicago Jewish News. Rabbi Goldhamer is a member of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He is married to Peggy Bagley. “When I came to Chicago in 1972, several deaf Jewish leaders and I established a deaf Jewish congregation where all activities were conducted in American Sign Language (ASL). Membership was almost all deaf, and so, I had to learn ASL to interpret the Torah for the deaf, deliver Sabbath sermons, and conduct classes of Jewish interest to my new, fledgling congregation. Over the years, the congregation grew older and the demographics greatly changed. Currently, even though I conduct religious services in sign language (and voice), the majority of our congregation is not deaf. We have transformed from a synagogue of the deaf to a synagogue that is completely accessible to deaf Jewish people. It is following this model that we train students at our Hebrew Seminary to become rabbis of the deaf and hearing Jewish communities. I am no longer 27 years old; in fact, I recently celebrated my 69th year on earth, and I feel the onslaught of the past 40 years. Baruch Hashem, I still have all my hair and most of my teeth. I still love pursuing and probing Hebrew texts, especially in the field of Kabbalah.”

Chicago Jewish News:

G-D AND FREE WILL  by Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer

“I am a rabbi whose life is dedicated to serving God. Over the years I have translated my service to God by studying and practicing Kabbalah. Kabbalah is the traditionally used term for the esoteric teachings of Jewish mysticism, through which we try to understand the mind of God using special meditative prayers and visualizations. Kabbalah attempts to join intuition and Jewish tradition. Hence my paintings, which are Kabbalistic, not only stress the esoteric, but are also closely identified with our people’s Biblical and Eastern European history. About twenty years ago I decided to translate these mystical meditations I do and teach into the visual arts. In the Kabbalah, light and color have a special, mystical importance, which I try to convey in my paintings. In our ancient Jewish tradition the sacred Torah is written on parchment which has been specially prepared to receive the holy text. I have been inspired by this material and decided to use it because I felt it would be perfectly suited to convey the visual images of Jewish mysticism.”

Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer first took up drawing about twenty years ago after being inspired over many years of visiting art museums with his wife, art historian Peggy Bagley. He is a self-taught artist who frequently explores different aspects of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) and Bible in his paintings and drawings. Goldhamer’s works have been exhibited at Judy Saslow Gallery and Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago; and in museums and galleries in New York, Florida, Nebraska, and the National Jewish Museum, Washington, DC.

RABBI GOLDHAMER, Artist and Author Links: